“More Than Robots” Documentary is leaving Disney+

The Disney+ Original is tentatively going to be pulled according to the Disney Parks news site wdwinfo.com.


I guess no one has watched it recently


Welp… Guess it’s time to gather the friends and family around and fix that.



Also, in this day and age where a 1 Terabyte hard drive is cheap and a 4k 2 hour documentary is like 40ish gb, why would they be pulling content? It’s not like the hard drive space is an issue.

Is it maybe a possible issue with usage rights or royalties to FIRST or whoever else was involved? Because having that out there getting a random view every once in awhile seems worth it. Maybe if it is a royalties or permissions issue they could try to renogiate before pulling it down forever.


There’s a lot more that goes into streaming than storage for these services. For storage, there are copies, backup copies, local copies, and remote copies… that’s just the start for storage. That says nothing about the software stack required to manage all of that… and that’s just the data.

For the network, you can’t just put it in one spot and serve out content to the entirety of a region so you typically offload high demand content to more local facilities. With Disney, that’s likely to entail deals with more regional providers and putting local mirrors in facilities that might have their own rules/limitations so finite space… Add in the need to have redundant systems too…

This also dips into the realm of modern Internet network wizardry and the current situation around Network Neutrality and deals between content providers and service providers. It’s real fuzzy right now.

My best guess is that Disney is removing a lot of “low viewer” content to optimize their service for what they currently have the ability to offer and shifting their content around a bit so they can handle the next phase of their migrations with Hulu/Disney+… which, since I’m speculating, is likely to work out how to deal with streaming more live content (read: ESPN). I suspect, in the short term, it will mean that some stuff disappears, but in the long term, it’ll come back through some other avenue and made available elsewhere.

Source: I work for these folks and have a decent amount of large scale IT operations/architecture experience.


Also, depending on the contracts, pulling shows lets them stop paying residuals.


Yep - there’s been some speculation the recent wave of removals from Disney+ is driven by the writer’s strike and the demand for increased residuals. (Or, rather, residuals that make more sense in a streaming-only landscape)

Sadly, Disney has decided consumers should bear the expense rather than their bottom line.


I’d be shocked if it were the other way around. (not trying to get into an ethics, or right/wrong discussion)

Some of the content, if contracts can be renegotiated, may be viable as small money getters on ad-based platforms like YouTube.


Is it available on other platforms?


Disney is running a business. Badly in the opinion of many. But they put product on the shelves and pull it back off as they deem wise.



Seems healthy to me.


I think the point about a badly run business is that they are succeeding financially, at the expense of their customers.


I think a few people in this thread need to look at the difference between a customer and a shareholder


My earlier post was deleted, but is there any way to purchase a permanent legitimate copy of this? Would Disney be open to selling the rights to that “movie” to FIRST so they can distribute it as they see fit and it doesn’t just sit on a company server, inactive for all eternity?

Once something like this is pulled down the odds of getting it back are slim. This is a very niche topic and the archivist in me is screaming at the possibility of losing more great FRC content.


This is a really interesting point. In college, I took a class on Management of Not-for-Profit Corporations. In one of the early lessons, the professor explained that no company or organization is 100% charitable and no company or organization is 100% profit-driven. An example he gave was Coca-cola who might keep a certain drink with a cult following on the shelves even if it loses money, because it builds brand loyalty or keeps people happy. The same thing is true for a company like Honda that does their “Helpful Honda Dealers” campaign – it’s a marketing tool, but it’s also charitable – and it costs them money from their bottom line.

You can make the argument that you have to spend (lose) money to make money. This is true both in marketing dollars and public opinion more broadly.

In the case of Disney and the streaming rights, I’d imagine there are meetings in board rooms where people are calculating the cost/benefit of removing items from their platform. Maybe you leave some of the cult favorites on even if they lose money, but you’re not going to leave everything on that loses money. I don’t know anything about the deal for More than Robots, but I’d imagine the viewership is small enough that the calculus was to take it down.


Or as a mentor of mine put it “Not-for-profit is a tax designation not a business model.”


That is true, in the grand scheme of things, the FRC and even broader robotics community isn’t that big a market for Disney and most pilee won’t stop getting their subscription because a film they like is removed. People may grumble here, but likely no action will be taken.

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What bothers me about it is Disney was a premier sponsor of FIRST for the competition, it was nothing but good press for Disney to be involved with FIRST. When people think of Disney they think of the parks, the shows, the franchises owned, etc. The massive umbrella of Disney however encompasses so many Technology, Robotics and engineering firms that unless you watch Imagineering or look at historical videos about the park attractions you don’t really get to see it.

Disney needs Engineers, Roboticists and STEM students to maintain their equipment and keep ahead on the latest developments. They have a massive roster of companies that they need to fill with Talent. So staying tight with FIRST seems like a no-brainer. Even if it’s a very small niche group, it’s an important group that they previously had put a lot for effort into trying to reach. So what changed since then that this “expense” isn’t worth it anymore?

Edit: Companies Picture! It may be out of date slightly but notables are Sphero, GoPro and the various engineering/civil construction firms needed to run everything.

Further Edit: even though they have now harpooned the new Engineering campus for Florida it was going to be a massive move of all of the park engineering teams to a brand new really expensive facility to update and be closer to the main park. That means that side of their business is very important and the reason it was harpooned wasn’t because they see a lack of business there. Its because of the ongoing Florida Political fued. If that wasn’t part of the equation we’d see a big hiring push for Engineering in Florida because many of the current people in California didn’t want to move. How many FRC teams have alumni in the Orlando area?



The worker class has decided that when the owner class is no longer distributing a piece of media created by them, a so-called “pirated” copy is perfectly legitimate for all purposes. Corporations aren’t allowed to make media disappear.


Isn’t exactly the same as “You won’t get in legal trouble by the aforementioned owner class”. Unless there’s a precedent you can find that allows for this it’s still risking danger.

I agree with the sentiment of:

If something was previously available for public sale, beyond being sold for new profit, and you cannot purchase it legitimately anymore, then ethically it should be okay to have an archival copy available. The owner maintains all rights to that material but unless they are selling it or offering it in some way for public consumption, they cannot just keep it to themselves now under ransom.

The issue here is technically this was never available for purchase. We’ve all been paying to rent time on their server and access whatever is there. Streaming only media (stuff like originals for Netflix fall into this too) never had a way to purchase it legitimately. If they decide to pull it down you can’t go buy it on DVD or purchase your own copy of the media because there never was a DVD made or a way to distribute copies. There aren’t copies. One corporation holds the only copy and everyone else has to bite it until someone bigger or with enough power and money is able to change their opinion.

If Disney suddenly tried to pull back every Pixar and Disney animation people had on VHS, DVD etc and began trying to make it so you could only ever stream it they wouldn’t be able to. With this niche content they have total control and we don’t have a legal ground to stand on afaik.